Trainer Darren Weir is hoping the addition of blinkers on Yogi will help find his way back into the winner’s stall in the Listed $150,000 Ladbrokes Sandown Cup (3200m) at Ladbrokes Park at Sandown on Saturday.
Yogi hasn’t greeted the judge first since winning the Listed Port Adelaide Cup (2500m) at Morphettville during the 2018 Adelaide Autumn Racing Carnival and Weir is expecting vast improvement on his last start seventh in the Group 3 $300,000 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on November 3.
A win in the Lexus Stakes would have seen Yogi sneak into the field for the 2018 Group 1 $7.3m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 6 and the plan was if that happen, he would have worn the blinkers in ‘The Race That Stops A Nation’.
“We’ve been sort of holding off (on using blinkers) for as long as we can,” Weir told racing.com.
“We were sort of hopeful we might have been able to win a lead-up to the (Melbourne) Cup, sneak into the Cup and put the blinkers on him that way.
“I think the blinkers will be a good addition for him and the step up in trip as well.”
Yogi is untested at 3200m but is a two times winner over 2500m as well as a three times winner at Sandown and Weir is hoping for a successive outcome in the Sandown Cup.
Craig Williams takes the mount on Yogi who will jump from barrier eight in the Sandown Cup field that has been reduced to ten runners with the early scratching of Noumea.
Bookies at Ladbrokes.com.au also think that Yogi is the one to beat and have installed the six year old as the early $2.90 favourite for the Sandown Cup just ahead of his stablemate Azuro at $3.40.
Azuro has drawn barrier two and will be ridden again by apprentice Ben Allen who has been aboard the five year old for his last two starts that produced a win in a BenchMark 84 Handicap over 2400m at Caulfield followed by a third in a 2800m BenchMark 96 Handicap at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day.